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Hey, British TV fans. Acorn Media is starting off 2013 with a bang! A Russian Revolutionary bang, that is.
New on DVD this week are three must-have sets: the star-studded Doctor Zhivago, Masterpiece Theatre classic Lillie, and the conclusion to Trial & Retribution.
This version of Doctor Zhivago is a miniseries that was broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre in 2003 and adapted by celebrated screenwriter Andrew Davies (Pride & Prejudice). It stars Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement), Hans Matheson (The Tudors) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) in Boris Pasternak’s classic, Nobel Prize-winning tale of love, betrayal and revolution.
The harrowing tale follows a man torn between two women amid the chaos and brutality of the Russian Revolution. Nominated for a BAFTA for best drama in 2003, the DVD 2-disc set features the complete U.K. broadcast edition, plus 70 minutes of bonus cast and crew interviews, photo galleries, filmographies, and more.
War and revolution bring poet and physician Yury Zhivago (Hans Matheson) together with the beautiful Lara (Keira Knightley), his muse and all-consuming passion. But both are haunted—Yury by guilt over his betrayal of Tonya, his beloved wife, and Lara by fear of Komarovsky (Sam Neill), the powerful man who means to have her any way he can.
Bonus Features: Cast and crew interviews (70 min.), photo gallery, filmographies, Boris Pasternak biography, and glossary of main characters.
BUY IT: Doctor Zhivago
Lillie is a classic from the golden age of the British miniseries on par with Brideshead Revisited, and stars Francesca Annis (Reckless, Cranford) as Lillie Langtry, the forerunner to modern celebrity idols and one of the most infamous figures of the Victorian age. This gorgeous 1979 production features meticulously recreated costumes and sets, location filming, and a 1,000-member cast that was nominated for eight BAFTA Awards, including best drama series.
At a time when society expected women to be docile and demure, Lillie posed for celebrity endorsements, conducted her own business affairs, and paid her first husband to keep his distance. Even more scandalously, she openly entertained a string of lovers among Europe’s elite, including the very married Prince of Wales — all while managing to win the respect and admiration of his wife.
The 4-disc DVD set includes 13 episodes; approx. 672 min.
Bonus Features: Essay about Lillie Langtry’s impact on pop culture and cast filmographies
BUY IT: Lillie
NPR called Trial & Retribution one of the “great crime series.” Set 6 features the final four mysteries of the gripping series from Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect). Akin to Law & Order, Trial takes viewers from the crime scene to the forensics laboratory and from police headquarters to the courtroom.
David Hayman (Sid and Nancy) and Victoria Smurfit (About a Boy) deliver outstanding performances as DCS Mike Walker and DCI Roisin Connor, two fervently committed investigators on the London police force. The series follows each of their cases from the scene of the crime to the jury’s verdict, portraying with uncompromising realism the professional and personal pressures that detectives endure.
In Set 6’s final four mysteries, police investigate a teenager’s murder, the sensational automobile accident and death of a man and his famous fiancée, a teenager’s fatal fall from a Ferris wheel, and a jewelry robbery gone awry. Guest stars include Roy Marsden (P.D. James mysteries), Benjamin Whitrow (Pride and Prejudice), and Ashley Madekwe (Revenge).
Set 6 episodes aired in the U.K. in 2008-2009 as Volume XIX: Tracks; Volume XX: The Siren; Volume XXI: Ghost Train; and Volume XXII: Shooter, but they have never aired in the U.S.
The series premiered on ITV in the U.K. in 1997, and aired for twenty-two mysteries, ending in 2009. Acorn previously released Trial & Retribution, Sets 1-5 (Volumes I-XVIII) as well as several other series from Lynda La Plante including Prime Suspect, Above Suspicion, and The Commander.
The 2-Disc DVD Set includes 4 feature-length mysteries; approx. 361 min.; Contains nudity, disturbing images, and coarse language.
Bonus Features: Behind-the-scenes footage (32 min.)
BUY IT: Trial & Retribution Set 6
DVD GIFT SETS FROM ACORN MEDIA in 2012: